North Apollo ready to approve tax to support fire department
North Apollo Council is moving forward with plans to collect a tax to support the borough's fire department but is backing away from talk of rescinding a tax supporting the Apollo Memorial Library.
If approved, an $80 annual tax on all properties in the borough to support the North Apollo Volunteer Fire Department would be collected beginning this year, council President Gene Burns said.
Council will vote on the issue April 1, Burns said.
The tax would be the same for all properties. Council had previously considered charging businesses double, or $160. Estimates are it could raise about $52,000.
This year, the tax would be due in August or September, depending upon when the borough bills it, Burns said.
In future years, it would be billed in January and due by March.
Property owners could be assessed penalties for nonpayment and be taken before a district judge.
Council held a town hall meeting on the issue at the fire hall in February.
Firefighters went to the borough, saying their department was in danger of folding in a year.
“I know that not everybody is in support of it,” fire department Vice President Jim Barclay said. He said firefighters hope the tax is approved.
“We understand we are going to be under the microscope. We're already under the microscope. It's something we're going to have to deal with as a fire department. We understand that,” he said.
“The public will want to know where the money is going. They will be able to see that through the borough. The borough will be able to look at our books and see where the money is going.”
The borough gives the department $15,000 annually.
That will stop after this year if the tax is enacted.
However, firefighters have said they would continue their fundraising efforts.
News of the department's problems has brought larger crowds to special events, including breakfasts and fish fries, Barclay said. Bingo brought a brief bump in attendance, but that died down.
A few people have expressed interest in becoming social members of the department, Barclay said.
Library tax stays
Council is giving up plans to try to rescind a tax supporting the Apollo Memorial Library.
Council had discussed putting forward a referendum asking voters if they want to rescind the 0.75-mill tax. Voters approved the tax in referendums twice, in 2001 and 2002.
The same tax is collected for the library in Apollo, where the library is located.
Burns said council was considering rescinding the tax with the belief that the borough would have better uses for the money.
The tax generated $13,344 last year.
But Burns said council decided to leave the tax alone after learning that if the tax is rescinded, the borough would not be able to spend the money elsewhere.
The possibility of losing the tax support alarmed library leaders, who said it could threaten state funding as well.
Library supporters urged council members to keep the tax in place.
“We're relieved that the North Apollo Borough Council has reconsidered its decision regarding funding for the library and recognized the library is a community asset,” library board President Paula Mahar said.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New-Ken Arnold will have new-look school security
- Penn State New Kensington will show new face this fall
- Fire, water training mix for Freeport volunteer company
- $6K in library books stolen from Fox Chapel library
- Indiana Township police on lookout for loose alligator
- Sentencing set in Harmar election conspiracy case
- New Kensington slaying victims identified
- 2 dead in New Kensington shooting; woman says male victim her ex-husband
- Drills put police, teachers in danger zone
- Upscale homes get approval in Buffalo Township
- Lower Burrell man Ameris to go to trial in cases involving guns, drugs, witness intimidation